Thinking about traditional Africa helps us to discern the origins and development of our own society and culture. The progression of newly liberated African countries is but a reflection of the world economy, whether we choose to believe in fair trade or systems of “thieves and robbers.”” Understanding the situations current African generations are living in allows us to determine the quality of our own lives and the substance that makes us who were are, as Americans, today. We know very well that as time changes, so must progressive processes, and in return so must peoples of certain societies. Just as mid-twenty- first century America called for women to leave the household and situate themselves in the workplace, so rings the call of modern African liberals. This freedom call is not one to burn bras and march on capital cities. Instead, it is a movement away from traditional thinking and social hierarchies. It is a call to men and women alike to stand up for their countries, to become the independent leaders, which the African and European elites fear the most. While this freedom fight is just within reach, the African people must first deal with converting themselves to modernized thinking. In his novel Devil on the Cross, NgA(C)gA(C) Wa Thiong’O uses Wariinga to awaken African women to the fact that they must leave behind their traditional gender roles to step out of the slum of manual labor and degrading servitude; otherwise they will be flushed out as refuse by the African elite.
Traditionally speaking, a woman’s place is in the kitchen. This obsolete phrase brings wretched offense to the ears of modern American women. Why? Because for the past century American women have fought to earn the right to vote, make their way into the exclusively male workplace, and develop an independence that allows them to live, work, and even raise a family on their own. This new independent woman is the epitome of modern culture: an individual who is self-sufficient.